Consider waxing over shaving

By Kira Scammell

A nice house in Bikini Bottom needs a well-kept lawn.Despite the silly SpongeBob SquarePants… A nice house in Bikini Bottom needs a well-kept lawn.Despite the silly SpongeBob SquarePants reference, the issue of keeping a well-kept lawn, or landscaping, reemerges every summer. For those who have hair removal on their agenda, waxing is a process one should seriously consider.

These days, it seems we only value the hair on our heads — everything else can go. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic approves of at least one method: Waxing is a safe and effective method for hair removal. While this procedure seems scary and painful, according to ESSpa Kozmetika owner Eva Sztupka-Kerschbaumer, a professional wax isn’t more than a five on a pain rating scale from one to ten.

The waxing procedure is simple. Treat skin with a mild cleanser, then sprinkle with baby powder to keep the area dry. Apply hot wax in the direction of hair growth before placing a cloth strip on top of the wax — if using hard wax, a cloth strip is unnecessary. Hold the skin taut, then quickly pull the strip in the opposite direction of hair growth.

When it comes to waxing any part of the body, let the hair grow out to at least a quarter to half of an inch long. This way, you can ensure the wax will stick to the hair — not to the skin.

In comparison to shaving, waxing offers more benefits. According to Livestrong.com, hair grows back thinner and softer after waxing because the strands are completely removed from the follicle. If there is no shaving in between waxing sessions, this hair removal technique leaves skin feeling smooth for weeks.

If you’re going in for your first wax, tell your technician. “The worst thing a client can be is nervous. If you’re more comfortable, it makes the wax easier and faster,” Sztupk-Kerschbaumer said.

Note that waxes work differently with all kinds of skin types. Certain waxes include honey wax, cream wax, and even a chocolate wax. Try out a few to determine your preference and what works best for your body.

Finding the right wax isn’t the step before gaining a pristine, hairless body. Irritating aspects, like ingrown hairs — when the tip of the hair folds back and begins to grow away from the follicle opening — can override the smooth benefits of a wax. The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is by exfoliating two or three days after your appointment.  A simple sugar scrub helps strands break through the surface of the skin, preventing ingrown hair. It’s also important to avoid heavily scented lotions and body creams because the skin is more sensitive.

The added sensitivity also meansone should avoid major exercise and sunlight. “A lot of brides come in right before their honeymoon and go and lay on the beach. Your skin is going to try and protect you, so you could be more prone to things like dark spots, that kind of thing. It’s better to wait a little bit,” Sztupka-Kerschbaumer said.

To cope with the sting, some people use painkillers. But many medications like Tylenol or Advil are blood thinners, making it more likely that you will bleed during your wax. “Waxing doesn’t take that long, it’s better to just kind of … suck it up? I do not recommend painkillers,” Sztupka-Kerschbaumer said.

Waxing may be more painful than other beauty remedies, but there are plenty of people who stand by it. Undergraduate student Samantha Wagner insists on it.

“I love that I don’t have to worry about shaving on a regular basis. My skin stays smoother longer. That little bit of pain is definitely worth it,” she said.

So why not try it? All you have to lose is hair.

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